THE BUDDHA SPENT HIS SEVENTH VASSANA (RAINS RETREAT) AT THE THVATIMSA HEAVEN AND RETURNED TO SANKASSA PURAYA ON THE VAP POYA DAY
The Buddha, just prior to the 7th annual rains retreat (vas), seven years after Enlightenment,
ascended to the Tavatimsa Heaven, to deliver the sermon on Abhidhamma to thousands of Devas and Brahmas including His mother, who was then born as a Deva in Thusita Heaven
as God Mathru, who assembled there, with ten thousand world systems.
There seated on the “Pandukambala” stone seat of God Sakra, He preached the Abhidhamma in detail, for a continuous period of 3 months. It was expounded to the heavenly beings, as it had to be explained to the same audience. No human being was able to listen for so long, in one stretch. The Gods who listened to the Buddha then, will be living even today, as their life span is much longer than that of human beings.
(In Tavatimsa heaven, the life span is 1000 Celestial years. 1 day in Tavatimsa heaven is equal to 100 years in the human plane.)
Buddha returned to this world, every day during that period, to the shore of Anottatta lake in
North India, to take his meals and to attend to other necessary daily requirements. Ven. Arahat Sariputta went there to meet the Buddha daily, to attend on him. He was the most intelligent of all the Arahats and was called Dhamma Senadipati. At that time the Buddha, gave Ven. Sariputta, a gist of the Abhidhamma that he had preached to the Gods on the previous day.
Ven. Sariputta taught in detail, what he learned to his 500 odd pupils. Those pupils in turn taught the other monks, and ultimately most of the monks at that time learned Abhidhamma which is the Special and higher teaching of all Buddhas.
At the first council, the Dhamma and Vinaya were rehearsed. Dhamma included the Sutta and Abhidhamma. As writing was not prevalent at that time, the Dhamma was preserved orally and handed down from teacher to pupil. For the first time, the Tripitaka was written down at Aluvihara in Sri Lanka at the 4th Council during the reign of Vattagamini Abaya.
All the monks who participated at the 1st Council were Arahats, with Catupatisambida Knowledge). They rehearsed and preserved the Dhamma and Vinaya at the councils. Hence there is no doubt that the original Dhamma perched by the Buddha is available up to date, in the Theravada Tipitaka (Plai Cannon).
The 1st Council Sangayana was held 3 months after Parinibbana. The Buddha’s Teachings were divided into 3 sections called the Tipitaka, which consists of Vinaya, Sutta and Abhidhamma. The 3 Pitaka were compiled, examined and approved by Arahats who assembled there. All the senior monks, that assembled were Catu- Patisambidha Arahats. They knew the Abhidhamma. It was recited at the Council Sangithi) and approved.
Reference - “Guide to The Study of Theravada Buddhism” –Published by the Y.M.B.A, of Colombo, Sri Lanka
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